The Rafa Marquez experiment in New Jersey is over. The New York Red Bulls announced in a statement early on Thursday morning that the team had parted company with the Mexican international defender by mutual consent. Marquez has been heavily linked to a return to his native Mexico to finish his career, and this decision will allow him to make that move.
During his time at Red Bulls since arriving from FC Barcelona, Marquez has been brilliant for short stretches, but mostly disappointing. He was unpopular with United States national team supporters before his arrival, and he's become more of a heel figure in U.S. soccer with his regular gamesmanship in MLS.
"This decision has been made in the best interests of both parties concerned," said new Red Bulls sporting director Andy Roxburgh, who is leading an overhaul of the organization. "Rafa has accomplished a great deal during his career and is a top quality player. We want to thank him for his service to the Red Bulls and wish him the best of luck in the next stage of his career."
Marquez earned nearly $4.6 million last season, and given both his inconsistent play and the Red Bulls' lack of playoff success since his arrival, that money can almost certainly be put to better use.